Story and Photos by Joshua Swanagon
I first had the privilege of meeting Jake Hoback, of Jake Hoback Knives, when I was working on a story about a proof of concept he was working on for NASA – a pivot system that required no oil or lubricant of any kind. We had the opportunity to speak at length on a few different occasions while writing that story and have maintained contact ever since.
To say that he is a genius would be putting it mildly. It isn’t uncommon for Jake to take the conversation down to the molecular level and I am left with nothing else but to smile and nod. It is obvious to me that his knowledge of knives and knife making are at a level of engineering that would take some serious studying to come close to understanding.
About a year after running the NASA story I got to cover his Proof of Life Axe and was very impressed at the level of detail and thought that went into every inch of this collaboration with Proof Research.
So, when I recently spoke with his team about the newest collaboration with Alphahunter Tactical Designs, the WarSpear, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to write up another Jake Hoback knife – his work almost writes itself.
The WarSpear isn’t technically a new knife, per se, but an update of a long running collaboration Jake Hoback has had with AlphaHunter Tactical Designs – the WarHorse.
Although not too much has changed in the handle – other than ergonomics for comfort during hard use – the blade itself is where the real overhaul took place. However, I will still detail the knife in its entirety, for those of you who might not be familiar with the WarHorse.
At 7.625-inches overall, the WarSpear is an overbuilt tank that has an almost steampunk-ish kind of look to it. Although it looks heavy, the titanium frame, with stacked lightening fullers running the length of the handle, and internal lightening pockets, help to keep the weight down to a very manageable 6 ounces.
The titanium frame comes in either a bronze anodized or silver sandblast finish. The 4.48-inch handle is a hand filling 1.375-inch-tall at the grip and 1.5 inch at the pivot. Although it looks like it would be overly beefy, it is still very comfortable in the hand.
Surrounding the entire extremity of the frame is a bevel, rounding out the overall presentation in the hand, and removing any risk of hot spot development or discomfort during use. Running just over half the length of the frame, along the spine, is a floating bio/organic machined backspacer, that adds to the comfort and clean presentation of the WarSpear.
The butt features a short section of jimping at the pinky, increasing the retention in the hand during draw cuts and tasks requiring any level of bearing down on the subject matter. Also, at the butt is an integrated lanyard hole, for those that wish to increase ease of retrieval from the pocket.
The WarSpear is set up for right-hand tip up carry but can switched to left-hand tip up carry as well. It features the standard Hoback pocket clip and rides high in the pocket for easier retrieval when needed.
The 3.07-inch, S35VN blade, features an infinity fuller, that continues out the tip of the blade – providing a really sleek look and great balance. The blade comes in your choice of DLC Black Stonewash or Satin finish and features a high flat grind that finishes at the fuller, giving it a keen edge. The spine of the blade contains deep jimping, for maximum retention during heavy use. Although the jimping is deep and appears abrasive, I have found it to be quite comfortable.
The blade is a robust 1.3125-inches tall and features a spear point – giving it its name, the WarSpear. The shorter length of the blade, combined with its height, gives the WarSpear a nicely rounded, deep belly, perfect for slicing – although it does sacrifice any kind of aggressive point.
The WarSpear’s blade is brought to actuation – on the proprietary Hoback Cammed Pivot, utilizing Pivot Thrust Bearings – via a large flipper, that acts as a guard while in lockup. When closing the WarSpear, the blade is pulled nicely into place, and held there, via the HRD (Hoback Roller Detent), with a satisfying snap.
Lockup is achieved via a frame lock, with hardened stainless lock insert with overtravel prevention, to prevent wear and tear on the titanium frame lock. Also visible on the frame lock is the removable/adjustable HRD, making it possible to adjust the detent to your desired preference, using the provided tool.
As with all of his knives, Jake ran the WarSpear through Finite Element Analysis, for complete design integrity. Finite Element Analysis is a method that analyses the affects of real-world forces, such as heat transfer, fluid flow, mass transport and electromagnetic potential, to identify any fail points in a design. The WarSpear was not just designed, built and sent out the door, but was analyzed and scrutinized for maximum structural integrity.
Something I don’t typically comment on in my reviews is the packaging, but sometimes a knife comes in a package worth mentioning – as is the case with the WarSpear. Each WarSpear comes in a wooden box with sliding lid. The inside of the box is lined with foam padding, with a cutout pocket, shaped specifically to nestle the WarSpear for safe travel.
Also included in the box are the tools to completely disassemble the WarSpear for cleaning – which I thought was a great touch – and a long card with the knife specs and Jake’s commitment to quality. So, you know you are getting an authentic Jake Hoback knife, along with his assurance that you are getting the highest quality possible.
I have been carrying the WarSpear for a couple months now and have been absolutely loving it, it hasn’t failed to perform any task I have asked of it. Although I have no doubts that it can handle extreme use, due to the limited nature of the WarSpear I didn’t do any heavy stress testing on it. But I did perform some of my standard folder tests, as well as regular daily use.
Although I have been cutting boxes and opening packages with the WarSpear for a couple months now, I felt that a dedicated test of this function was still in order – just for good measure. So, in typical fashion I cut up a corrugated box, cutting cross corrugation, to really test the wear. Already knowing the answer, I was not surprised to find that the edge was still in solid shape for continued testing.
Next, I moved on to some of my heavy-duty leather and was able to get some very clean, very smooth slices. I also performed some press cut tests and was able to press the edge straight down and through the leather, cleanly.
I then did my phone book test and attempted to press straight through the entirety of the phone book. At this point I had noticed some slight glinting on one part of the edge (I believe it was from something I had used it for prior to testing) and lightly stropped it. Once I had run it across the strop it cleanly cut right through the entire phone book with no issues.
Moving on, I got out some half-inch twine and half-inch climbing rope and proceeded with my rope press cut test. First, I held the WarSpear in a chest lever grip and cut off a length of the rope – the WarSpear was very comfortable in this grip. Then, I pressed through the rope, cleanly cutting away multiple small sections. I followed by doing the same with the twine, with the same clean and easy results.
Finally – and perhaps the most surprising of all of the tests – was the heavy-duty nylon military gun belt. I have performed this test many times and have never had a knife slide through the nylon webbing quite so easily. I really was a little surprised at how easy it cut. I followed that by pressing through each piece, cross weave, and cutting them in half.
After all of my testing, the WarSpear is back in my pocket and ready for plenty more.
I have been a fan of Jake Hoback Knives for some time now, not only for his incredible designs and attention to detail, but also for his philosophy when it comes to business. I have never before seen a maker that quite literally gives away the plans to any of their designs so other makers can learn from them.
As with every other Hoback product I have seen or used, the WarSpear is another amazing home run – Jake and Alphahunter Tactical Designs have every right to be very proud of this creation.
Although each of the two options are limited to only 50 numbered pieces, that does not mean that there won’t be other limited runs in different finishes. But there is no guarantee of that, so don’t hold out for that possibility and miss out on your opportunity to own a seriously amazing knife, that begs to be used. K&G
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Blade Material: S35VN SteelBlade Length: 3.07 inchesClosed Length: 4.58 inchesOverall Length: 7.625 inchesBlade Thickness: .1875 inchBlade Finish: DLC Black Stonewash or SatinWeight: 6 ouncesFrame Material: Titanium – Bronze Ano or Silver SandblastMSRP: $725.00 – $750.00 (as tested)
Jake Hoback KnivesInstagram: @JakeHobackKniveswww.JakeHobackKnives.com
Alphahunter Tactical DesignsInstagram: @alphahuntertacticaldesign
Jake Hoback Knives
Joshua Swanagon has studied survival in both urban and wilderness environments in Colorado and Michigan for most of his life, while also adding experience in harsher terrains abroad. He utilizes his experience and years of diverse martial arts and combatives training and real world application as a self-defense/combatives instructor, published freelance writer and Field Editor for various magazines in the fields of knives, survival, self-defense and tactical subject matters. Joshua also brings with him his years of experience as Editor of, and Subject Matter Expert for, Knives Illustrated Magazine.
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